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Marc Lichte: “Good design and true progress can only come from real passion”

  • After ten years as Head of Audi Design, Marc Lichte is seeking new impulses outside the VW Group
  • His design language will continue to shape the model range for a long time to come
  • Marc Lichte: “The most important project is always the next one”

He stands for reduced shapes, courageous thinking, and untiring passion, traits with which he designed more than 150 vehicles over the past 28 years. For an entire decade as Head of Design at the premium manufacturer Audi, Marc Lichte (54) was responsible for exterior and interior design and designing the brand’s racecars as well as for UI/UX design, which is becoming increasingly relevant for connected vehicles. During his tenure, Audi Design was honored with numerous international awards. On June 1, Massimo Frascella is slated to succeed Lichte, who will leave the VW Group to seek new creative impulses elsewhere. His design language will continue to shape the model range of the manufacturer from Ingolstadt for a long time to come.

As Head of the Exterior Studio at Volkswagen, Marc Lichte designed the epitome of automotive functionality with the Golf series V, VI, and VII. In 2014, he gave the brand with the four rings a preview of his design vision with his first concept cars, the Audi prologue and the Audi Q8 concept. Whether elegant classic cars such as the luxury sedan Audi A8 or sporty vehicles such as the RS 6 and RS Q81 – ten years later, all model generations embody Lichte’s clear vision of a reduced design language with its timeless and long-lasting impact. In February 2021, the premium brand introduced a fully electric Gran Turismo, the Audi e-tron GT2 – to Lichte it is “the most beautiful car I ever designed.” With the sphere concept vehicles, consisting of the Audi skysphere roadster, the Audi grandsphere sedan, the Audi urbansphere space concept, and the Audi activesphere concept as a four-door crossover coupé, Lichte demonstrated how Audi Design is helping to drive the company’s technological revolution.

CEO Gernot Döllner: “For ten years, Marc and his team have done great things for the Audi brand and its design. He transferred series vehicles, including numerous market leaders, into new and attractive generations. At the same time, he accompanied the brand’s technical transition to electric mobility with his innovative design language and set the course for everything that is to come during the most exciting period in automotive design.”

In keeping with Audi Design’s philosophy that progressive form and innovative function can only achieve their maximum effect in perfect harmony, Lichte systematically prioritized the customer and their desires and needs during the design process. 

The responses to these requirements that he and his team found were honored with numerous design awards, among other achievements. At Autonis in 2020, Audi won five of the ten categories; the following year, the e-tron GT2 was awarded the Golden Steering Wheel in the Most Beautiful Car category. The new design process of imagining cars from the inside out, which was created under Lichte, won the EyesOn Design Award at the Detroit Auto Show in the Best Interior category in 2022 and 2023 with the Audi concept cars grandsphere and activesphere. The award was won in large part due to the use of augmented reality to create a completely new, virtually limitless infotainment and operating concept.

“It always takes a team to do something great. I am more than proud to have worked with such inspiring people for so long,” says Lichte. “But when it comes to design, the most important project is always the next one. The only way to remain relevant is to move – to move something and make a difference. But good design remains.”

Source: Audi AG

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